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Ireland’s ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ begins in County Donegal, an area that is rich in history, culture, and stunning coastal scenery – perhaps explaining why it was voted “coolest place on the planet” by National Geographic in 2016! This beautiful location will be your base for three weeks of deep cultural immersion and experiential learning. On this college credit program, you’ll learn about Irish history and culture, visit extraordinary places on guided field trips, enjoy fun classes in Irish language, music, and arts, and interact with teenagers from all over the globe. You’ll also engage in group workshops and service projects in between visits to Northern Ireland, the capital of Dublin, and some famous sites associated with civil rights and social justice. Plus, you and your friends will get to explore castles, make lots of new friends, climb mountains, speak Gaelic, and have more fun than you can imagine!

Eligibility Requirements

Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13 and 14 year old’s aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14 year old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.

On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:

Sample Program Itinerary to Ireland

The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.

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Your journey to Ireland

Your journey will begin in New York, where you’ll meet the other members of your group before flying off to Dublin. Once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed at the airport by local staff and attend an orientation where you’ll learn some essentials about Irish culture. Prepare to be overwhelmed by Irish warmth and hospitality as you get to know your new community!

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Your Cultural Activities

Your program is packed with a mix of workshops, guided field trips, volunteer projects, and fun activities. With the guidance of experienced teachers, you’ll learn about Irish history, culture, peace and conflict resolution—all while earning college credits from Drew University in Madison, NJ. You’ll explore everything from Ireland’s ancient history to contemporary life, including topics like the Celts, St. Patrick, Vikings, famine, and conflict resolution. Your lessons will expand far beyond the classroom, as you and your group trek through the breathtaking scenery to visit ancient tombs, bogs, forests, cliffs, and castles.

You’ll also take a trip to Northern Ireland and the city of Derry, which was the home of the Irish Civil Rights Movement, modeled on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You’ll be encouraged to think about the transition from conflict to peace in Ireland, and use these unique experiences to examine global issues such as culture, environment, sustainability, and community.

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Your Accommodations

During your three weeks in Ireland, you’ll live in a dorm at the Adventure Campus in the surf town of Bundoran. You can expect to share a room with other students of the same gender—dorms range from 2-bed rooms to 6-bed rooms. The dorm area includes a game room, full climbing and rappelling tower, ropes course, surf and kayak school, and outdoor sports area. The campus is always supervised, and there are plenty of friendly faces to help you get settled in. You’ll have four meals daily, and the food is healthy and plentiful. Breakfast and supper are served on campus, and lunch and dinner will be eaten at local restaurants. There is no problem accommodating vegetarians, vegans, and other diets.

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Exploring the Area

You may be familiar with Ireland’s grassy hills and towering cliffs, but did you know that County Donegal is also a celebrated surfing destination? You’ll be on a campus that is five minutes from the beach, so you’ll get to surf and swim as well as hike and climb. Activities will be led by qualified outdoor instructors, and all at a beginner level. All the equipment you need—wetsuits, bootees, lifejackets—is provided for you. You and your group will also get to learn the traditional Irish sports of Gaelic football and hurling, and then try activities like rugby, archery, and foot-golf! Each evening, you’ll be guided in a program of entertaining activities, music, drama, and games with other teens from Ireland, UK, Europe and beyond. Then on the weekends, you and your friends will visit the cities of Galway and Dublin to experience some of Ireland’s major cultural centers.

Please note: This program requires a brief admissions process and will require a letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor and educator.

Want to learn more about our Global Prep Ireland program?

Check out this video of a Global Prep Ireland alumnus and director sharing their experiences and discussing the highlights of the program!

Group Leaders

This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.

What's Included

  • Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
  • Accommodations, meals, and transportation
  • Secondary Health Coverage Plan
  • Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
  • Visa Support
  • Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines.
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Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Ireland.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits

Apply for Global Prep in Ireland!

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